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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Mar 12

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3/12/2009 7:36 AM  RssIcon

TampaVisitors to Tampa's Channelside district are discovering the newest attraction in town, the Tampa Bay History Center, where multimedia theaters and interactive exhibits make some of the area's best-kept secrets come to life. Electrosonic, working with the museum division of Art Guild, designed, fabricated and installed the multimedia components of the new building which is on the City's Riverwalk.

Dubbed "Exactly What You Didn't Expect," the history and heritage museum features 25,000 square feet of exhibition space which cover 12,000 years of local history from the first native inhabitants to the Spanish conquistadors to the Gilded Age's railroad tycoons.

Visitors get their first taste of Tampa history in the Intro Theater where the approximately 15-minute "Winds of Change" video begins with the early exploration of the region. Electrosonic supplied three Panasonic PT-D5700U projectors for the theater. They are projected on a trio of mullioned screens butted up against each other so they can show three discrete images or one large blended image. The center screen is 104"W x 78"H and the side screens are 74"X x 58 1/2H. The company also furnished a 5.1 surround system featuring Tannoy DI8DC speakers.

Electrosonic provided control of AV systems throughout the History Center via an extensive AMX program. The Intro Theater's lighting and doors are AMX-controlled; a Samsung monitor outside the theater sports a countdown clock for the next show.

Also on the first floor is a model of a cigar factory where the process of hand-rolling cigars is demonstrated. Push button controls enable visitors to light up portions of the factory floor as they trace the industry which gained fame for Tampa.

Electrosonic supplied two interactive audio playback kiosks with Aura speakers for the "Turning the Tide" exhibit which takes Tampa from the 19th to 20th centuries. Rounding out the first floor, a 50-inch Panasonic plasma screen with Tannoy DI8DC speakers and a quartet of interactive buttons allow visitors to explore the "Four Neighborhoods" of Tampa Bay.

On the second floor two Panasonic PT-D5700U projectors, mounted pointing down, display interactive Tampa Bay area maps on a table-like surface painted with Screen Goo to create innovative projection screens. ELO touch screen kiosks give visitors the ability to scroll through Tampa Bay attractions, zoom in for greater detail, and email themselves information about specific sites.

Electrosonic provided a Christie HD6K rear projector and a 15 3/4'W x 7'H curved screen for the "Cowman & Crackers" exhibit which tells the story of a family's annual Tampa Bay cattle drive, a tradition for more than a century. A complement of Tannoy DI8DC speakers deliver 5.1 surround sound; user-activated local control starts the approximately 10-minute presentation and launches closed captioning.

Another interactive touch screen kiosk with Aura speaker enables visitors to "Make a Citrus Label" in an exhibit documenting the area's citrus fruit industry replete with displays of colorful vintage labels, crates and replica grovestand.

The story of the Tampa Bay port, one of the nation's largest, is told in the unique "Now Loading" walk-in theater made out of a 20-foot shipping container. Electrosonic supplied a Panasonic PT-D4000U projector and a 6'W x 3 1/2'H screen, supplementary 42- and 37-inch Panasonic plasmas, and JBL Control 25 AV speakers.

Two 50-inch Panasonic plasma screens showcase the history of the area's many sports franchises and spring-training teams in the "Sportsman, Spectator, Fan" exhibit.

In addition, two 3M interactive touch screen kiosks with Aura speakers make visitors "Witness to Change" in the region and boost awareness of Tampa as a "Year-Round City." A 12-inch Marshall LCD monitor in an old-fashioned nickelodeon-style configuration lets departing visitors peer at vintage images of bygone days.

"The Tampa Bay History Center had a very challenging schedule with a compressed turnaround at the end," notes Electrosonic project manager Thursby Pierce. "But the project went together very well, and we were ready to go by the January 17 grand opening."

Cortina Productions, Pyramid Studios and Monadnock Studios were the three media producers for the exhibits. Bob Haroutunian of PPI Consulting was the AV design consultant; Gifford Eldredge was the project manager at the museum division of Art Guild.

At Electrosonic, Mike "Doc" Dwyre was site supervisor, Dan Dwyre install technician, Chris Hartwell programming and commissioning engineer, Tim Smith design engineer and Bryan Abelowitz sales engineer.

About Electrosonic

Electrosonic is a worldwide audio-visual company that operates in three ways: as a systems integrator, as a product manufacturer, and as a service provider for AV facilities. Founded in 1964, Electrosonic has always been among the first to apply new technology to create tailored, state-of-the-art solutions that meet the challenges of the professional AV market.

Electrosonic's system integration business has a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 40 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Electrosonic brings a unique breadth of experience to each project, backed by solid engineering skills, project management and quality production facilities. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including consultancy, technical design, maintenance, lamp leasing and operational support.

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